Over 74% of all internet users access social media sites, with 89% of those users being 18-29 years of age. Many athletes use social media as a way to track popularity with the number of tweets, re-tweets, followers, friends and views that they have on social media sites. In fact, some athletes correlate their popularity on social media to their athletic abilities. This need for recognition is causing a negative impact on a lot of teams and athletes.
Researchers from Texas Tech University used pro football player Johnny Manziel to highlight just what the magnitude of social media can do. Researchers tracked tweets regarding Manziel for the 2-week period during which his NCAA violation came to light. His violation was discussed on social media by over 90,000 individuals in just that 2-week timeframe.
A study done in 2014 by Chris Symeon from CKSyme Media Group measured social media use for Division I and Division II NACAA athletes. On average, only 26% of these athletes has protected Twitter accounts, around 61.5% did not know all of their followers, and 14% had been a victim of online harassment such as unsolicited inappropriate material, account impersonation, angry fans messaging, or cyberbullying.
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